Thursday, January 14, 2010

Blending two families to three?

I want to tread lightly when I write about our families, as not to hurt anyone's feelings. Lately Mike and I have been discussing our families (immediately in particular) in detail. I think one of the hardest parts of marriage is blending and becoming someone else's family, making a new family.

For those of you who know me very well, you probably know that my brother is one of my best friends and confidant, he always lets me vent about things that are going on and then gives me the "keep your head up", "go get 'em" or even the "it's time to get over it" pep talks. My mother and I talk 2 to 3 times a week, but keep up with each other, and email back and forth from our desks if we have stuff going on during the day. With that being said, my family has/is learning boundaries and attempting to let Mike and I create our own family. I think they are doing a pretty good job at it although they have struggled with it in the past. My dad and I talk, but are not super close and have not been since 2004. However, I still love him dearly and enjoy the rare times we are able to spend time together (the last of which was my wedding in July 2007). It is simply difficult to have a great relationship with someone who I have only seen four times since the fall of 2004. Wow! I didn't realize quite how long it has been, but we're coming up on three years. I wish that we had a closer relationship, but without going into all the messy details, we have things in the past that make it difficult for us to closeness. Also we only talk every two weeks or so via phone (except for the fact that he has now learned to text and sends me daily "Good morning" texts @ 10 my time). I have a big extended family that I don't always get to see frequently but enjoy greatly. My Nanny is my only grandparent still alive, so I love to get to spend time with her. I have a close relationship with a few of my aunts and cousin.

I say all of this to break down what I come from. Michael comes from a very different family, (but still good). His parents are still married, he has a younger brother & sister who are twins (I'm actually only 5 months older than them). His mom's mom has Alzheimer's and is now in an assisted living home and his Dad's mother lives in Yukon's own Spanish Cove. His mom is an only child, so no extra family there (weird for me) and his dad's family is not very close. Although much of the family lives in the Oklahoma City metro they only see each other around big holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas and the occasional summer holiday like the 4th of July or Labor Day). I often long to go visit my family in Antlers because I want to see my extended family, my Nanny, Kathy, Kristi, Kayden, Maci, etc. (Side note: I often see my mom and my brother once every month or two even if I don't go to Antlers).

I go through all of this to say, our families are vastly different. We are having to learn the quirks of one another's family. For me, one thing that was weird to me (and still at times is) is the way Michael's family is when someone comes over (I should insert here that my bro-in-laws friends are OFTEN at my in-laws) everyone goes into the living room, everyone talks and visits, dinners are eaten at the kitchen table together, where after we're done we sit and talk and then sometimes continue to talk, but simply move the visiting to the living room. Mike's family does not do that. It still kinda weirds me out, because as you can "see" I am a talker.

However, I am trying to learn to accept them for who they are, to be patient even when I feel people do not deserve it, to be loving, kind and most of all: to realize that I cannot make Michael's family my own, they will not do the things that I always desire, that is not their way. Nonetheless, Michael and I have the ability to make our new (third) family into the one that we desire. I do not expect it to be easy (although I wish it was) and the truth is, there may have to be times where I just disagree and keep my mouth shut.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Difficulties of Maintaining Relationships

There have been many things going on recently (discussions, etc) that have put this topic on my mind. Mike and I were talking on our drive back home from seeing my family at Christmas time about the difficulty in retaining friendships and seeking out new friendships. So I will include you in the discussion, plus some additional thoughts (possibly rants) of my own.

Don't you remember when it was easy to hang out with people: no real job, not a lot of money and the need for sleep was much smaller, lol. As I have moved away from my college town I have seen the difficulty in maintaining relationships. Well, to be honest, I actually began to struggle with this before I graduated, due to the fact that Mike and I were married and not living in Shawnee. Some single friends don't like to hang around married people (perhaps that isn't you, but I have definitely seen it). When hanging out with couples all four people have to get along (sounds easy to do, but its surprising how difficult it can be) and I consider myself one to get along with just about anybody. Then there is the time/schedule issue, everyone is always so busy.

So here is what it actually comes down to: working at the relationship, I have learned that it takes work to make our marriage work. In the same way, it takes work to make a friendship continue when it is not overly convenient. After all, isn't it easiest to only be friends with people we work with and go to church with? What about everyone else? So I want to be a better friend. I will attempt to stay connected and will pursue time with my friends. I pledge to be more flexible. I will pray over my friends and those friendships with the desire for God to bless those relationships I am able to have. Lastly, I will seek out relationships. It is so easy in our world to get stuck where we are and not invite over people we don't know, I will pray that God shows me someone who needs a friend and that I will follow his lead.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Roll Tide

What a National Championship game! Now I must say, I am in no way shape or form a fan of the way the BCS puts together the big game (in what other sport do undefeated teams have absolutely no chance to even attempt for the title) but last night was a game that proved itself worthy of a National Championship.

I went into the game cheering for Bama (for many assorted reasons). Although I was thoroughly disappointed when Colt McCoy got hurt as a wanted the game to be as competitive as possible (although I was relieved to not have to hear how Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley grew up as friends, are now roommates and have a very close bond, blah!) Then steps-in true freshman Garrett Gilbert. Now it really irritated me that the announces continued to call Gilbert "the freshman" as if he had no name until after halftime when it became clear that Colt would not be coming back. I felt bad for Gilbert and I can't help but wanna cheer for the underdog, so cheer I did. I know that many Texas fans will say that had Colt McCoy been in it would have been a different game, perhaps, but he wasn't and it wasn't. But I would argue that the greater problem was not McCoy being injured but the offense giving up after McCoy was injured. They were not running their routes at full speed, there were multiple dropped passes that hit people in the hands. Even the shovel pass right before half-time was not a mistake by Gilbert, but the kid who bobbled the ball. However, once Gilbert was able to complete a pass you saw a little spark ignite in the Horns. Suddenly they begin to believe they could win (having Colt McCoy cheering them on again didn't hurt either).

However, there is a that Crimson Tide had the Heisman winner on their team, because Mark Ingram is amazing. Anyone that has over 1000 yards rushing after contact. McElroy is now 30-0 when starting. Even with Colt McCoy being injured the University of Alabama still (at least in my opinion) was the better team, at least last night.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Generation X

So yesterday I was a bit hard on the parents, but now I believe it is time that Generation X has a come to Jesus meeting. I look around and here is what I see rampant in my generation and the ones close to me (I was born in March of 1987 btw): a lack of concern, respect and at times no idea how to blend being and adult and yet still a young person.

I realize that I myself grew up in some ways before some people who are my age (I married @ 20) and there are others that have children before we were out of high school. Nonetheless, you are still my generation and what I have to say to you is this, it is time to be who you need to be. I am so sick of hearing stories of young people living with their mom and dad not helping around the house consistently (whether that be financially or within the family) and with no plans of leaving anytime soon. Do not hear what I'm not saying, I'm not saying that in extreme circumstances people shouldn't help out their children, I'm not saying that its a bad idea t olive at home in order to save a little cash for a bit. I am saying your a bum if you're (a) not working or going to school (b) are doing one of the above but do not help in any other way.

It is time to gain some responsibility. I too enjoy to have fun, I love to be spontaneous and in this terribly cold weather right now I would like for nothing more than to book 2 tickets to the Caribbeans and go enjoy some sand and warm weather. However, in order to do that I would have to let other responsibilities go, and some things must come before fun such as our mortgage, grocery bill, electricity, gas, and even my Internet bill for school. I recently met a young women only a year younger than me with a five year old and a baby, the children have different fathers. As we were talking about money and things to spend on, she asked why we did not replace the Hubby's Acura (97') which is now getting older and doesn't look like its in its prime any longer. I tried to explain that the car worked, was in good condition for the most part, that it was paid off... In essence all of the practical reasons why we are waiting to replace this car. She began to talk about how she spent her paycheck (she has 2 kids mind you) and suddenly she says that she spent her entire paycheck right before Christmas on her?!? I was appalled, she bought herself new shoes, clothes, etc (she placed a heavy emphasis on EXPENSIVE name brands, such as $100 tshirts). Well how do you get your kids things I asked (foolish, I know) her response, the government and her mother. My taxes pay for her kids to eat and her mom pays for everything else.

Do not hear what I'm not saying, I think that welfare/food stamps are a good thing. I believe there are people that really need them, what I don't understand is why my generation is okay living off of our parents and the rest of the working class. It's time to grow up. We as a generation need to realize that soon our grandparents and parents are not going to be around forever to run the world, they cannot take care of us, nor do they need that burden.

And if you are living at home then use the time wisely, get an education, save for a down payment on a home. Be wise in all areas of your life....

Signing off

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I have decided to start blogging not necessarily about the day to day happenings in my life (updates), but more in ways of opinions, local news, media, football, politics, church and whatever else may inspire me to jump upon a soapbox.

I recently had a discussion about a co-worker about students (children) who act inappropriately and how they should be handled. I am around kids pretty frequently from my job and my volunteer work through my church where my husband is the youth pastor. And sadly parents the problem is not the children, the problem is you. There its been said, go ahead and get mad, nonetheless it is still the truth.

You as parents have decided that it is more important to be your child's friend, to gain some buddy buddy rapport with them instead of being the adult in charge of them. From a scriptural basis you are charged with the duty to make sure that your child is making good decisions. Yes, I realize you cannot know where your child is every second of every day, and that to never give them any room to make mistakes is to ultimately set them up to go out of control with the first ounce of freedom they receive.

But it is your right to set consequences and to hold to them. Even if that means your child misses out on a big party or event, their choices, their consequences. I believe that the reason many parents do not like to punish their children for doing something wrong has much more to do with the parent than with the child. If you are to be sure that your child is where they said they were going to be then that takes time from your schedule you have to take time out of your schedule to check on them. And to be quite frank that is just too much work for many of the parents I encounter today. I know you're saying, that's not me and yet those of you who have children that drive and you take away their keys for a week as punishment, it is quickly evident that you too must suffer through your child's punishment.

It is not some teacher's job in a school system to make sure that your child is keeping their grades up, its yours. It is not some pastor or community volunteer's job to ensure that your child is staying away from drugs and is not sexually active. It's yours!

Parents it is time that you begin to take responsibility for the things you have done and hold yourself accountable. And you know what, if your parents sucked, that doesn't give you an excuse to be a sucky parent too. In fact, you should know the value and the need of strong parenting.